Single Player Employee

Dealing with Resistance to Change

“If anything, people should be afraid of lack of change.”

Not every change is an improvement, but every improvement is necessarily a change. When I am trying to introduce change in a workplace, I will inherently meet resistance to that change, regardless of whether the change will be an improvement or not. Justifying that the change is in fact an improvement does not even seem to satisfy those resisters. The resistance instead shifts to another topic of: “Well you might have grand ideas of this, but what happens after you win the lottery and leave, or you are promoted and someone else takes over, or you are hit by a bus and someone else takes your place?” How do I deal with this resistance to change? Even if I manage to satisfy these questions with improvement plans and ways to sustain the gains, will they just shift to endless other points of resistance?

Why do you believe what you believe? Are you just arguing from the Bottom Line, a fixed conclusion of not wanting to change, that no matter what counterarguments and weight of evidence against your position, that you still Won’t Change Your Mind on the matter?

If I accept that nothing else will change unless I do it, then what is it that I am agreeing to in the future?

The idea of “Managing Change” in the workplace seems to build up a negative stigma about any change, whether they be improvements or not. The Expressed Culture propagated when we are coached to “Manage Change” results in an environment which is inherently resistant to change. Instead of building this aversion to the progress necessary for improvement, I think it would be much more meaningful to teach a culture of Continuous Improvement. The comfort of constance, whether it be at the workplace or in our own personal endeavors, is a Habit to be Broken.

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Asking More of Myself, for Myself – I Want it All

Why does it feel so wrong sometimes to ask for more? Is this about me, or about the situation?

I think I usually ask a lot of myself. I set relatively high standards for myself. Keyword: relatively. Maybe I wouldn’t feel the need to ask for more if, relatively, I felt what I contribute is average. But when I look at myself in comparison to others, beyond naivety, I do more. So since I do more, should I not receive more? Or, at least, receive the same?

I brought up this topic of lack of compensation 2-3 years ago. It was heard but not acted upon, and I thought maybe that was just a sign that I was just not contributing that much compared to what was expected. Since then, I’ve tried to observe more, to see maybe I was just naive in my expectations. But time went by, and I feel even more confident in my first observations.

I do more. I am asked to do more. I am expected to do more because of the more I’ve done previously.

But I still receive less.

Even so, why do I feel pressured not to ask for more?

This pressure is from my internal thought processes, some form of conditioning. Maybe humility, maybe temperance, maybe conformity, maybe avoiding confrontation, maybe a sense that I am still receiving more than unemployed and homeless.

Relatively, I receive more than a lot of people too.

How do we determine what is the right amount? Is there even such a thing?

Is what I earn reflective of what I need? Or is what I earn an indication of what my contributions are worth? Is what I earn determined by how long I’ve been working? Or is what I earn based on what my work produces?

I’ve considered the idea of doing less, of lowering the expectations of myself, so that I will feel less distance between my merit and my earning. But I still want to do more. I must do more. I want to continue to do more, because there are larger things to Win, first for myself, and then for others. I want to ask for more, despite the internal struggles of not wanting to ask for more.

I ask more of myself, for myself. It’s myself who I should first rely on, who I must take care of.

“There is no time to hesitate,

and although I’m feeling scared,

I want it all.” – Bis

Questions in a Rainstorm

Sitting on a porch rocking chair, in the middle of rainstorm Nona in Sabang, Naic, Cavite in the Philippines. The rain picks up, wind brings some wetness to my hand and the book I’m writing in. A dog curled up checking itself for any creepy crawlers. The sound of raindrops accumulating in the shutters, the rustle of leaves moving in the wind, the sound of family chatting in the background.

I am sitting alone, surrounded by the happenings of the world. Where am I in this space?

The rain falls more heavily, wind lifting pages of this book. I tap my foot. The dog looks my way shortly, interrupted from his struggles against his fleas, and quickly goes back to licking his legs.

It’s not a question of belonging. Belonging infers purpose, a matter of things being where someone or something else intends them to be. I don’t belong here in the Philippines, nor do I belong in Rosemead or San Diego or Long Beach.

The clouds drift in the sky, moving in a general direction. Do the clouds belong in the sky? Do they move because they belong somewhere else? As a cloud spreads itself as raindrops, do those now belong on the ground?

Asking questions is a way to get information. But sometimes we ask questions for information we don’t need at the time for addressing the matter at hand, and sometimes we misuse that information. Sometimes we ask the wrong questions, and then think we got the right answers.

A second dog takes his spot in a lounge chair. A cousin and uncle walk by, discussing plans for building and developing the land. A sound of an airplane zooming by in the sky. Was that plane delayed due to the storm? Will my other cousins’ flight be delayed due to the storm warning level? What’s the difference between a Level 1 and Level 2 storm?

When I am alone, I find myself asking questions to myself. This might be a common habit for everyone, or maybe I’m on the more inquisitive end of the scale. I don’t really expect all of these internal questions to be answered and put into use. Which questions are more important, and for what purposes?

“Where do I belong?” is a wrong question for me at this time. A better form of this question is “Where do I want to be?” These questions are similar, but they focus on different responsible actors. “Belonging” emphasizes forces external to me, whereas the latter question emphasizes my own inclination.

As a soon-to-be 5-year employee of a reputable company, part of a larger worldwide corporation, I find myself comfortable with a decent salary and full benefits package.

What is prompting me to even consider leaving? A sense of discontent at work. Co-workers’ interests and motivations varying significantly from my own. Over-burdening of responsibility because I want us to do better, to solve problems and help our customers succeed. Lack of compensation compared to others who have less merit and commit less effort. Instability in our industry with near-term windfalls. Not wanting to rely on a 401k retirement plan, nor having to wait until retirement age to reap its benefits.

What actions can I take to alleviate the situation? Change my expectations of myself and lower my standards in work ethic. Change my co-workers. Change my company. Become self-employed.

What are the causes of the situation I find myself in? Having to work with people I don’t want to work with. Having to work at times and for a duration I don’t agree with. Having to do things in ways I don’t want to do them.

Can I control these issues? I’ve asked to change teams or team members, but have not received any change. When working in a large company, I am subject to standard shifts with a target retirement age. I also have to do things in accepted ways, even if they are not optimal. And no matter how hard I work, I still have a fixed salary, where performance appraisals and adjustments are not completely merit-based.

My parents come by. Seems like the family is going out today, shopping and probably more eating. Another cousin comes by. Seems like some are planning on paddling a boat in a nearby lake recently filled with rain. I sit here, rocking in my chair, watching some low and fast-moving clouds, hearing light rain pitter-patter, wind playing across the leaves of the trees. Seems like I could sit here for a while, thinking, observing, being.

It’s not a matter of where I belong; it’s a matter of what I want to do. It’s a matter of doing, of playing what I want to play, how I want to play, when I want to play. It’s a matter of winning, first for myself. Can I do that where I’m at now? If not, what do I need to change to give me better chances at winning?

A moment’s peace, a quiet calm in the storm. A motorcycle rumbles in the distance. Where is it going?

Where am I going? Where do I want to go?

Innovation Should Not be an End Goal

When someone asks you to be Innovative, what is it they are asking you to do?

In my workplace, Innovation has become quite a buzzword lately. There have even been rumors about a new Department of Innovation in the works, which is supposed to gather like-minded Innovators together so they can be even more Innovative.

But why Innovation? And why should we focus on being Innovative? What will happen to me if I say I don’t want to be Innovative?

I think we should be careful about using terms which are considered “holy”, where the opposite/lack of that term is considered “evil”. For example, how could I even dare to say we should think twice before we consider Collaboration? These types of one-way terms are more often used as a cue for applause rather than for their discussion points.

So if we Taboo the word Innovation, what is it that people actually mean when they want it?

When I hear people commonly using the term Innovation, it often involves developing solutions to a problem which are considered “out of the box”. I don’t necessarily think this is a bad concept, but does that mean that all solutions to problems have to be “out of the box”? At what point should I consider that maybe I need to get rid of my current “box”, or update what my “box” contains? If we always want to be Innovative by this definition, isn’t this also requiring that our current knowledge always be one or more steps behind? Would my efforts be discounted if your concept of what is Innovative is just what I consider to be Mundane?

If I proposed that instead of a Department of Innovation, instead we should have a Department of the Mundane, would I be considered instantly “evil” and booed off the stage?

Innovation is just a means to an end. Not every change is an improvement, but every improvement is necessarily a change. Innovation can bring about big changes, but we must remember that these should always be aimed towards improvement.

If we really had to create a new department, it should be the Department of Improvement. If improvement requires changes which are considered Innovative, so be it. Likewise, if improvement requires changes which are considered Mundane, so be it. (But really, why would we need a separate department for something that everyone should aspire for?) If what we really want is improvement, then we should aim for improvement regardless if it involves innovative or mundane changes.

When people ask for Innovation, maybe what they really want is the applause that goes along with Innovation, a talking point to impress the audience, or a wow-factor to attract investors. These could also be desirable, but these goals should be specified at the onset and not disguised as seeking improvement.

If our actual goal is to improve, then Innovation for the sake of Innovation is just a Lost Purpose. We should optimize for and implement changes best suited for improvement, be they innovative or mundane.

If we want to Win, then we shouldn’t care if our optimal strategies are innovative or mundane. If we want to Win, then we shouldn’t care if we were right or if we were wrong in our thinking a year ago. If we want to win, then we shouldn’t care if we are recognized by others. If we want to Win, then we should focus on Winning.

Irony of “The Age Discrimination in Employment Act”

I noticed there was an “Age Discrimination in Employment Act“. I was impressed.

I then read through the document and noticed this only covers age 40 or older (and other exceptions). I was no longer impressed.

Is there something special about this number 40? What if I am 39, or younger?

Please look at what I am capable of, separate from my age. I could be 2 years older or 20 years older than my current age. Would that age difference affect my ability to do this task? Some tasks may be affected by other things which correlate to age; but is this task one of them? What new information are you taking/giving when you say “well that’s how you young people do it” and clamor against technology and change? Is what I am doing good or bad? Is it better or worse than what we have done? Would I get bonus points if I did what I am doing now, but were twice my age? Or are you discounting points from me because I happen to be in a certain age group?

When you mention age, you are just categorizing / profiling / stereotyping / discriminating. I resent that.

You might not bring up my gender or my race, since these are more discouraged in our current professed culture of non-discrimination (speaking as a citizen of the United States, 2015). But the same consideration should apply to judgments based on age, if we were actually expressing a culture of non-discrimination.

Not every change is an improvement. but every improvement is necessarily a change.

My goal is to improve things. Do not assume that I am just trying to change things for the sake of change, because of a sentiment of “that’s what kids do these days”. Let’s talk and discuss about whether what I am doing is actually improving things or not.

If I were to give the benefit of the doubt, I could say that the crafters of this Act were just trying to be funny and ironic by protecting against age-discrimination only for those of a certain age group. But this is probably not the case.

In defense of what this document is trying to accomplish, I have to mention this paragraph:

SEC. 621 [Section 2], (a), item (3):  The incidence of unemployment, especially long-term unemployment with resultant deterioration of skill, morale, and employer acceptability is, relative to the younger ages, high among older workers; their numbers are great and growing; and their employment problems grave;

This seems like a fair observation. The longer someone is out of practice of a skill, the less capable they might be at that skill. And since this is a time-based measure, people who have had more time pass since they were birthed (i.e. older) will probably have more occurrences of this than those who had less time pass since they were birthed (i.e. younger).

But why do we need to write this Act specifically for people who are 40 years old or older? It would be fine to just say “no” to age-discrimination as a whole, whether people are relatively older or younger. But then I must remember to look at the purpose of this legislative Act. Its purpose is probably not to discourage against age-discrimination as a whole, but trying to help older people obtain and retain employment. This is still a noteworthy cause, but I would characterize this more as teaching how to not lose, rather than teaching how to win, and just losing in a different way. This is an example of a document trying to change the professed culture, not trying to condition an expressed culture.

I have a dream, that one day all people will be judged not based on how many years that have passed since they were birthed, but based on their ability and desire to Win. Winning should favor no age group, skin color, gender, or other similar stereotype. Winning is the final judgement; it is the only judgment that should take place. We should let Winning be more attainable for those that practice winning ways, so that they can be better equipped to win more for those that did not win, those that cannot win, and those that will not win.

A Pitfall of Process Planning

In my workplace, the word “Process” seems like a holy word, one that everyone should bow towards whenever it is seen, read, heard, or spoken. Attaching it to other words makes it even more spectacular: saying someone is process-driven or process-oriented makes them a saint and thus more promotable.

I don’t mind “Process”, but let’s make sure we are using it with the same meaning and understanding. “Process” is good for consistently and repeatedly being able produce an “Output” from a given “Input”. Before we focus on the “Process”, we need to thoroughly research and understand the “Output” and “Input”.

Let’s say that I am a basketball player trying to improve my free-throw shooting. I’ve read and heard a lot of things about free-throw shooting, so I decide to incorporate them into my form: I adjust my posture, bend my knees, think about how I will release the ball from my hand, practice a pre-shot dribble routine, buy a sweatband for my forehead and wrist, and rehearse my breathing and facial expressions so I will look calm and confident as I am shooting. I don’t really understand what each of these adjustments do, but I heard they are good so I follow them. I actually don’t have access to a basketball court, or a basketball, but I continually practice and practice alone in my room these things until I developed a consistent form I can use every time.

Game-day comes and I am fouled and have to shoot a couple of free-throws. My team is down by 1 point, but luckily I have poured sweat and tears into my free-throw shooting over the last 5 months. I assure my team that we will win because I have perfected my form. I then shoot, and the ball then goes over the backboard. Confused, I just figure that some fluke must have happened to that first shot. I use the same form again, and another ball goes over the backboard, hitting an observer in the crowd. We lose.

The observer comes up to me after the game. “How did you miss those free-throws so badly?”, they ask.

I have to defend myself. “I have been perfecting that same form for 5 months!”, I say, pointing to the buckets of sweat and tears that I kept to record just how hard I worked.

“How did you practice and develop that form?”, the observer responds.

“I studied how other expert free-throw shooters do it. I followed their styles and practiced in my room every morning after I woke up and every night before I went to sleep!” I exclaim. I start walking away in disgust at this observer’s lack of knowledge until the observer stops me for one last question.

“How many free-throws did you make when you were practicing?”, they ask.

I start to feel confused, never having considered that question before. “How many did I make? Why would that matter? What matters is that I had perfected my form!”, I answer, and run away.

I run away, not because of my disgust for the observer, but for the disgust at myself, realizing that I forgot that I actually had to put the ball through the hoop when shooting a free-throw. My “perfect form” is only perfect, I finally realized, if it actually puts the ball through the hoop. What I had perfected was a form of free-throw shooting, not a form of free-throw making. I go home and cry another One Liter of Tears.

First comes the goal of making a free-throw by putting a ball through a hoop (Output). Then comes the game of basketball and a person trying to make the free-throw on a particular court with a particular ball (Input). Then comes the free-throw shooting form (Process). A form I practice and develop in my bedroom with no ball may not work when it comes to making critical free-throws on the court at the end of a game. A form optimized for a different person with a different height and hand size may not work for me. A form I practice and develop for an NBA official basketball game may not work as well for a beach court with a bowling ball.

Once we establish a relatively fixed Output with a relatively fixed Input, then (and only then!) should we focus on developing the Process. We can create a lot of value at that point by improving consistency and reproducibility of creating our product, whatever that may be. But remember, if we are changing our product, we need to step back and realign the process. Similarly, if suddenly the resources we use to make our product changes, then we should also realign the process.

Processes can be more definitive for products with well-defined Outputs and Inputs. The more vague our Outputs and Inputs are, then the Process cannot be as well-defined. A well-defined Process for situations where the Outputs and Inputs are unknown is just a homage towards a Process God, a type of Lost Purpose.

Miyamoto Musashi illustrates an example that explains this pitfall of process planning when he says:

“The primary thing when you take a sword in your hands is your intention to cut the enemy, whatever the means. Whenever you parry, hit, spring, strike or touch the enemy’s cutting sword, you must cut the enemy in the same movement. It is essential to attain this. If you think only of hitting, springing, striking or touching the enemy, you will not be able actually to cut him. More than anything, you must be thinking of carrying your movement through to cutting him. You must thoroughly research this.”

Let’s make sure that before we plan a detailed step-by-step Process guide, we must first thoroughly research and understand what Output we are trying to accomplish, and with what Input resources.

Making the Most Value out of Single Player Teaching

I think teaching and learning is best played with multiple players.  But sometimes we are asked to teach without even meeting the student.  What is the best way to do this?

In my effort to make the most out of my single player teaching, I am thinking of presenting the subject of [my job function] in a modular web-browser-based approach, similar to a Wiki or a Blog.  This teaching approach is not that exotic or novel, but in my particular workplace, it is not a very common or acceptable idea.  Despite that, I am trying to incorporate it because of the value I see in it.

 If someone prefers to focus learning on the details, they can choose to do so. If they prefer to focus learning on the overall perspective, they can choose to do so. If they want to read the series in order or jump to the sections they need at the time, they can choose to do so. Web pages allow for more flexibility in terms of creating the content (teaching) as well as digesting the content (learning). Simple word documents or work instructions tend to be very linear and I do not think these types of documents are particularly good methods of sharing “How do I do my work?”.

This approach will satisfy my desire to teach the way I would prefer to learn: exposure to the overall perspective with a focus on the specific details when necessary. This teaching approach will emphasize the importance of why what you are doing is important for the targeted result. And if someone doesn’t particularly care for learning this way, well they don’t have to! Someone can just take what they can use from this guide, and go learn and succeed the way that works best for them!

I won’t pretend to know everything about [my job function]. Those who come after me will most probably change the content and/or develop improved processes. That’s great, and I wouldn’t hope for any less from them! They should be enabled and encouraged to build upon what I built upon what those before me built upon. The work I am doing is constantly evolving and is really just a means to an end.

Teaching in a modular approach is especially useful for when we expect that there will be changes to the specific content and required processes. Once the system requires a change or someone develops an improvement, it is easier to just substitute out the parts that are no longer needed.

Hopefully, this approach is sufficient to adapt to future needs. If not, well then I hope that it is possible to see where I tried and failed. Someone can take these lessons and teach the next people what they learned, so that they can do even better!

It’s with that sentiment that I proposed this type of teaching method to my manager.  However, to make a long story shorter, it was not received very well.

Teaching Without a Student

There are a lot of ways to teach something. When we are asked “How do you do your work?” and to share that with someone else, there are multiple ways to respond.

One way to respond is to withhold detailed information about what you do to protect your job security, but I have spoken of why this should not be relied on.

One could teach their job functions purely at a detailed level, without putting in perspective how each of those functions interact or what the overall targeted result is. This teaching method may be most effective when your work inputs and outputs are expected to be constant, such as repeatedly manufacturing a bolt to meet specified dimensions.

One could also teach their job functions strictly at a general level, without providing too many details about how to actually take your inputs and deliver your outputs. This teaching method may be most effective when your work inputs and outputs are expected to fluctuate frequently, such as teaching someone how to teach for different types of subjects.

These are just a few examples of approaches, which only take into account the subject of what is being taught. There are other considerations which affect the effectiveness of a teaching style, such as who is the teacher and who is being taught.

In short, different people prefer to learn in different ways, different people prefer to teach in different ways, and different subjects require varying degrees of focus on teaching details and showing perspective.

Teaching and learning is most effective when people come together. But if you had to, how would you best play the teaching game as a single player?

Currently I am in the process of trying to capture the knowledge required to perform [my job function] so that someone after me can continue doing what I do.  Now suppose that I was planning to teach you how to perform [my job function], without even meeting you. For this case, what is the best way for you to learn?

I know what [my job function] is, which way I would prefer to teach, and how I would prefer someone to learn. But my contribution of teaching is only one part of the learning process.  So as I start writing this guide about “How do I do my work?”, I also find myself asking things like “How did I learn how to do my work?”, “Would other people like to learn the way I did?”, “What would I have liked to learn at the beginning which I only discovered later on?”, “How would ‘YOU’ like to learn?”, and ultimately “Who even is the ‘YOU’ in this process?”  I am trying to teach you “How do I do my work?” even before the fact that I have met you or understand how you like to learn. So how should I teach you?

I think one of the best ways to teach a subject is to adapt to the person being taught. This is not always easily accomplished, because the teacher has to pay attention and figure out what works best for the student. Because of this difficulty, sometimes we see teachers sticking to one method and forcing their students to accept it or move on. I don’t like this one-way approach, but I also don’t have the luxury of figuring out how I should adapt to the student (you).

Teaching is not best done as a single player activity, but we may still be asked to do it.  So what’s a good way to approach this?

Overcoming Information Dominance in the Workplace

Yesterday I spoke of the idea that it is not good to rely on information dominance in order win at games.  Today I would like to extend this concept to the workplace.

There are people in the workplace who maintain job security solely through information dominance.  Sometimes it is feigned as “word of mouth” or “rule of thumb” procedures developed from “experience”.  Sometimes, this maintaining of information dominance is unintended (e.g. person is unable to communicate effectively) and sometimes it is is deliberate (e.g. person does not show trainees where to find the available work instructions).

In my time working within a single large company, I have found cases like these pretty common.  I imagine there may be workplaces where it is more or less common, but based on what I have seen, there seem to be a fair amount of people who rely on information dominance in my workplace.

But why rely on that?  Are there no other ways you can show your capabilities without happening to have more information than others on a certain topic at a certain time?

I have a mindset that it’s not the possession of information, but how I use information that differentiates me.  I should be open to sharing with you the information I have, so that you can have a better chance for success.  After that, maybe together we can accomplish even more.  And if we happen to be competing for the same job position, well, I must develop the other skills I have so that I can still compete and beat you out for the position.  Wouldn’t we both be stronger because of that?

In our advancing society, where getting information is becoming easier and quicker, I should be more ready to willingly give up my information dominance in a given situation.  I may be relying on it if I try to hold on to it.  Eventually, someone else will come along who might have more information than I do, ripping that dominance from my possession.  What would I do then?  It may be unsettling when considering that my position at the workplace provides me an income, but it is becoming more necessary that I figure out what other skills I have and how I can develop them.

Being able to figure out what kinds of information are important for a certain situation seems like a good skill to have.  Recognizing the importance of decision-making with incomplete and/or extraneous information seems like another good one.  These types of skills represent some factors which can differentiate me from others, ways I can succeed without having to rely on information dominance.  As an employee, it’s these skills I will need to win at the workplace.  Outside of the workplace, these kinds of skills can also give me a better chance of winning at life.  It’s with this in mind that I seek to teach others what I know, so that they too might have a better chance at winning, and so that together we might win even more.

“Collaboration” is a Dirty Word

Individuals coming together to contribute towards a common purpose – “Collaboration”. What a beautiful concept! How can anyone be against that? How dare I call “collaboration” a dirty word! Why am I not simply applauding the term?

As an employee in a relatively large company I have to work frequently in collaboration with people inside and outside of my department.  I don’t mind the concept; in fact, I would embrace it, if we agreed upon what we mean by “collaboration”. What I have issue with is its common application and usage. What tends to actually occur in practice is that only one individual or a minority of the group performs the work of the entire group.

People within a team environment will probably contribute at different levels. This is fine if it is understood that this will be the case. One person who has so much limited resources will contribute X% of their effort to the group, but this achieves something that the others want contributed. This type of agreement is fine with me. What actually happens is that people abuse the fact that as long as the group gets it done they are “contributors” to the “collaboration”. Another common occurrence is that people are unaware of what it is they need to contribute to the collaboration, and end up contributing nothing without realizing it.

If one individual could have performed the work of the collaboration, there should be stated deliberate reasons why the collaboration is occurring. There are other benefits from a group activity such as peer review, implementation, and general buy-in. But those should be the primary reasons. It should not be a collaboration so that certain individuals do not have to contribute as much as other individuals.

I think we should Taboo the word “collaboration”. What do you actually mean when you use that word? Are we separate individuals coming together to contribute towards a common purpose because of a set of agreed upon reasons? Could we not complete the work on our own, or desire a group benefit, such that the collaboration is mutually beneficial?

I think that before individuals can actually consider collaboration, they need to be aware of what they can contribute on their own. As a single player, what am I good at and what do I need improvement in? What can I bring to a group setting? What do I lack, and who will be best to team up with to cover for each of our gaps?

As an individual, I can only win so much. But I must first have an idea of what I can win on my own, before considering what we can win together if we team up. If I have no idea, or if I have no intent of actually contributing, then we are a “collaboration” in name only. We may achieve a certain group output, but what exactly did I contribute? What did I learn? Where did I challenge myself? What skills of mine did I practice and test to see if they need honing?

“Collaboration” is a dirty word. But sometimes, collaboration is necessary. Be careful with how it’s used. Abuse it too much, and you may become over-reliant on it to do things which you could learn to do on your own. Accept it too much, and you may be doing a disservice to others by reducing their opportunities to learn on their own.

There is no team without me, or you, or the others. That’s how it should be for all of us collaborating. If the team could have performed just as well without me, and I am collaborating for the purpose of contributing (not just for a learning experience), then I am doing myself a disservice. I am lying to myself, convincing myself under false pretense of my ability. It is myself who will be lacking in the long run. In the process, I am also inconveniencing others, having them carry my weight.

Is this mindset that unreasonable for me to have? It it too much to expect that others have a similar mindset?

Up until now I have tried giving my collaborators the benefit of the doubt, but I can only allow so much benefit after experiencing first-hand so much doubt. So the next time I hear someone mention “collaboration”, please excuse me when I do not instantly start clapping.